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Neck Pain and Posture

One of the most common causes of neck pain is poor posture, which can lead to a change in the shape and position of the curve of the neck. When viewed from the side, the neck should have a c-shaped curve (between 40 and 60 degrees).

Poor posture may be caused by the following:

• Daily activities: Routine behaviors such as sitting too long at a desk or behind a computer as well as sleeping in an awkward position may result in unhealthy posture.
• Lifestyle: Issues with obesity, or weak abdominal muscles, can disrupt the spine’s balance and cause postural issues. However, even healthy activities such as gardening or tennis have the potential to cause problems.
• Aging: Age related disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the cervical spine.
• Injury and Accidents: Whiplash is the sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the resulting rebound of the head or neck in the opposite direction. The abrupt whipping motion causes injury to the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head.

Poor posture most commonly leads to a loss or even a reversal in the normal curvature of the neck. It often results in a forward head position. For every inch that the head moves forward in posture, the weight of the head on the neck increases exponentially by ten pounds. For example, a forward neck posture of three inches increases the weight of the head by thirty pounds (the average human head is ten pounds), and the pressure placed on the muscles of the neck increases six times.

When the spine is misaligned (subluxated), normal movement is altered, and inflammation is the result. Poor posture places abnormal stress on bones, which are then forced to remodel in order to accommodate this new pressure. This action spurs osteoblast cells in the bone to activate more growth, which presents as bone spurs and initiates an inflammatory response. Over time, this condition can lead to arthritis.